Miscellaneous ideas

You and your money. Essential course for all workers.

The single biggest stress for our farm workers is money management. Thankfully Louisa le Roux, pictured below with our vineyard staff, has designed an excellent course. She, amongst others, draws on psychology, explains the difference between wants and needs and the different types of saving etc etc. This course is 5 hours long. She comes to your office.

As a result of the positive feedback, we are putting the rest of the farm staff on her course over the next 2 weeks.

If you are interested in getting Louisa in to come and engage with your staff on this valuable skill then click here Life Skills Training – Module 1 – You and Your Money – May 2018 – Final for full details.

Alternatively click here for their website.

Angus

20 May 2018

 

This relates to taking farmland (specifically white owned) without compensation.

Before we delve into this issue lets be clear that this is just another example of the tactic, by the ANC primarily, to divert from the mismanagement of the country whilst trying to loot what remains. It is directly from the Robert Mugabe textbook on governance. Examples abound, the most recent being the Coligny drama. (See Rian Malan’s article on this). The EFF (Economic Failure Forever) is desperate to get back into the limelight as their only calling card, the former president, has left the room and so they resort to clamouring for a measure that will not being any economic freedom to anyone.

Increasing desperation is the sign that accompanies the loss of hegemony.

First, who is going to feed the people if all the white farmer’s land is taken? From the rabid support by the ANC of Mugabe it appears that the fact that Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa is ignored. Since he kicked all white farmers off their farms the country cannot feed itself and has to rely on donated food. Those white farmers have found work elsewhere but their farm labourers have not been so lucky.

Second, there’s no point in taking land from white farmers if the infrastructure is not in place to ensure that this land stays productive. Not a single land claim farm in this country, managed by the claimants, has remained productive. That is a massive failure on the part of the ANC. Some farm workers could become farm managers but this requires prolonged investment in their training and as is obvious the government has little interest in the hard work of teaching skills and consequently uplifting people. Organised agriculture throughout the country has made many offers to government to help in this regard but it has been repeatedly rebuffed.

Third, at least 80% of white-owned farmland is in turn owned by the banks so by taking the land the banks will be unburdened of their load. Do the politicians who are so anti-banker really want this? Also if you cannot use land to guarantee a loan then you are threatening the whole banking system which of course suits another myth, namely white monopoly capital.

Fourth, the people are sick. South Africa is on of the most obese nations on earth. There are many reasons for this however the primary reason is that the people are being fed the wrong food. Imagine the impact if the energy was spent on encouraging farmers to grow food that nourishes humans and heals the land, regardless of the age, sex or skin colour of the farmer. Sustainability is an outdated idea. Regenerative agriculture is the future.

Fifth, how does the scenario play out in the Western and Northern Cape? The original inhabitants, the San, have been practically exterminated therefore there are no possibilities for land claims.

Sixth, the government is the biggest landowner. It is black. The second biggest landowners are the tribal chiefs. They are also black. The chief’s land, being generally the most fertile, has the most potential to produce food for the people however it is overgrazed and mismanaged. No politician has the courage to take on the chiefs and so instead they try to bully white farmers, most of whom are making a humble living on marginal agricultural land.

Arguably the best example of how economically sterile land has become productive is the Amadlelo Agri project in the Eastern Cape. This is how land claims should be handled.

Finally all the talk about race is never going to get us moving ahead as a country. The debate around land should be that those farmers who are building their soils (and therefore water holding capacity) should be encouraged through various incentives and those who are destroying their soils should lose their farms.

Angus

28 February 2018

Chicken soup for the soil – a soil amendment I recently applied

One of the best things about my job is I get to see my mentors relatively regularly as the regenerative agricultural world is rather small. One of the pioneers of the movement in this country is Dick Isted. They farm near Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. They have been building fertility there for many years. Click here to get some insight into their farm.

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Dick and his wife Margot came to the farm in October last year and after some hen massage we went looking in the soil. Dick was very clear that my plants needed help and the only way was through a soil amendment that Jerry Brunetti designed. He called it chicken soup for the soil. For the recipe and the suppliers of the various products click here chicken soup for the soil, oct 2016 Note that in Jerry’s recipe he used molasses. I have chosen not to use it as I have no interest in Glyphosate being on my farm. I am working on a blog on this carcinogen/descaling agent.

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Luckily for me I have neighbours who have the right, big spray equipment. The mixing tank on the right and the boom sprayer on the left and below.

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The boom sprayer in action

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To ensure that the mix is made up properly requires someone with brains. Fortunately Matt has plenty of that. He worked on the farm for 2 months after university, prior to going to the US. He has a podcast that goes by the name of In The Know. He interviewed me for his 6th episode.

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Was spending all that money worth it? Absolutely. First, as per the picture above there is good nodulation on the lucerne which was not there in October. Dick is pointing to one of the nodules on the plant roots that is the home of the bacteria that fix Nitrogen from the sky into the plants and the soil. Second, the farm has never looked as good as it did up to three weeks ago. This was after a very hot and long summer following a winter with half the normal rain. 95% of my irrigation water was cut 3 weeks ago. Here is the story.

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After seeing the impact of the chicken soup for the soil, the Isteds and I had a celebratory lunch. I had our rump. The our being the Isteds and I as I had bought the weaner oxen from them almost 2 years ago.

Angus

31 March 2017.

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